Monthly Archives: March 2014

Day 89: Sunday brunch

I think it’s always nice to find undiscovered treasures in ones own proverbial backyard. Today I was able to do so in the form of a lovely venue for a Sunday brunch. I enjoyed a charming meal at East End Kitchen on 81st between York and East End. Excellent huevos rancheros, for anyone who might have occasion to try it.

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On a slightly amusing note, this was also the first time I’ve ever had to explain to a server what I meant when I asked for a meal “with greens.” 

Me, stammering, flummoxed: Um…lettuce… spinach…kale… whatever you have…

Upper East Siders, anyone have any recommendations for restaurants I might not know? Others, any good stories of finding new places near home (and with that, recommendations for those who might visit your city/neighborhood?)

 

 

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Day 88: It’s my party and I’ll be philosophical and melancholy if I want to

So my new thing for the day? A brand new age. Woo. Hoo. 

On my birthday five years ago, a friend asked me what I’d learned in the year gone by. I found that to be a particularly interesting way of ushering in a new year. 

This year, however, I’d rather look forward than back. While the one gone by had its moments, many of them truly lovely, it was overall not what I’d call  particularly successful in the grand scheme of things. I can’t really think of anything of especial significance that I learned. 

I’ve noticed that when one expresses regret for not having achieved (and I use the term loosely) certain things, the typical response is that there’s no particular time clock. Generally, this opinion is given either by one who has already completed certain accomplishments (again, loose application of the word), in which case it just smacks of condescension, or by one who is also lagging, perhaps even more so, and in that instance, the statement is simply self-serving and there’s no reason to trust it. 

But here’s what people don’t often acknowledge: It’s not really about the social time clock. Oh, sure, that matters. We try to pretend it doesn’t, but it does. But those who move at a slower pace get left behind. Relationships change. You watch people move away from you, perhaps not all at once, but it happens. 

I’d say I learned this past year that nothing happens in the time you wish it to happen, but I learned that a long time ago. I haven’t yet come to accept it as anything other than entirely irritating, but it’s a fact of which I am well aware. Still, the year gone by was a series of annoying reminders.

So instead, I’m going to focus on the year ahead. On getting what I want. On accepting what I can’t change (no, I am not a member of AA). On moving forward. On learning new things. 

Wish me luck. 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 87: Hair. Cut.

Obviously, this isn’t a wholly new experience, but it begs a question: What is it about a new haircut that gives a woman a sense of… I don’t know… rejuvenation, maybe? I don’t know what it is, but I definitely feel like cutting ones hair feels like a greater newness or change beyond the simple aesthetic. Anyone else with me? What’s up with that? 

BEFORE

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AFTER

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Day 86: Say yes to the dress

This afternoon was my first time visiting a bridal salon. Not for myself — I was there for moral support. 

Now, if you’ve watched any of those bridal shows, you might know the routine at these places, but I have not, so I did not. The ladies  are very gracious, with very delicate handshakes. They ask questions about the wedding so as to find a dress that will complement the style of the event. They have you look at books and comment on the dresses pictured to get an idea of what you might gravitate toward. 

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NO

Then they bring in a selection of dresses for you to try. I was a bit surprised that the bride didn’t actually select from among a rack of dresses, but I suppose the theory is to try a number of different looks to see what works well and not reject something from the hanger. The — I’m not sure what to call them — salesgirls seems gauche… I’m just going to go with “ladies” — The ladies are very good about finding dresses that fit various aspects of preferences and providing options. 

Then you basically spend the next hour in your underwear while someone puts dresses on you and clips them to fit (bonus: the “dress clips” are actually jumper cable clips) while your companions give their (sometimes unsolicited, but hopefully quasi-helpful, or at least not totally annoying) opinions. 

Now, as I said, I was merely an observer, but the whole “this is the most important dress I will ever buy in my life” pressure aside, it kind of looks like the most fun game of dress-up ever. 

Of course, that can all go to pot. I know someone who had to get a new wedding dress a month before her wedding because the alterations just did not work. But hopefully, that’s more the exception than the rule. 

Anyone have any fun wedding dress shopping stories? Either as a bride or as an observer? How about from someone who works in the field? Any good war stories? 

 

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Day 85: Check, please? No, thank you.

Here’s something I’ve never seen happen before:

I was in a coffee shop, sitting at the counter with a cup of tea. The woman next to me finishes her meal and is brought the check. 

And then…

She waved it off.

“Oh, no,” she informed the waiter. “I work (next door). I know the owner.” 

Well, I never. That was actually the thought in my head. 

The bewildered waiter went off in search of the owner, who confirmed that the woman was indeed welcome as his guest. Which is fine and all, but who does that? If you’re offered a free meal, by all means accept it graciously if appropriate (and then tip really well), but to just decline a check?

I ask again, who does that? 

Anyone else want to share any particularly notable breaches of etiquette you’ve witnessed lately? 

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Day 84: “Conscious uncoupling”

Thanks to Madame GOOP herself, Gwyneth Paltrow, today I have learned the phrase “conscious uncoupling.” Apparently, this is not an expression Gwyneth invented herself. It’s one used by people who employ words like power, evolution, transformative and “love alchemist” in their personal lexicons. I believe these are the same types of people who use terms like “soulmate,” “Universe,” and “forever home.”

You know, the kind of people who post photos like this:

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I found that by Googling “annoying photos of empowered women.”

Lest I seem like a complete twat* (which I assure you I am not), despite my exaggerated eye-rolling at this new expression I’ve learned, I really do extend sympathy to  the Martin-Paltrow family. Breakups are never easy and the only hope is for the transition to be as painless as possible for all involved (and for everyone else to stay out of it).

This is the second biggest breakup news I’ve read this week. A valued friend also “consciously uncoupled,” but did so far less… what’s the word… insufferably? GOOPily? I am so not helping my “I’m not a twat” claim here…

Your turn to talk — tell me about some new phrases or expressions you’ve learned recently.

 

*This is also the first time I’ve published that phrase, so bonus

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Day 83: Let’s talk about sex

And watch lots of it as well.

Sorry, perverted friends. Today’s Something New is not about undiscovered pornography. As far as I’m concerned, that doesn’t exist (kidding, Dad). 

After the great achievement of figuring out how to use Showtime Anytime, I finally got the opportunity to watch Masters of Sex, the series based on the work of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, who were pioneers in the field of human sexuality. 

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I’m looking forward to seeing more of what happens on the series. Lizzy Caplan (still can’t believe this is Janis Ian from “Mean Girls,” almost as much as I can’t believe how many people who watched “Mean Girls” have no idea who Janis Ian actually is) carries herself really well as a 1950′s woman. And Annaleigh Ashford, as a prostitute looking for a better life, is a standout among the supporting characters. 

Just a couple of episodes in, the subject matter addressed in this show is making me regretful that I did not take on a newfangled self-designed major in sexology back in my college days. I think I’d find it so interesting to read Masters’s and Johnson’s research, along with that of Alfred Kinsey and… well, I’m not sure who else. See? I don’t know other leaders in the field of human sexuality off the top of my head. Clearly, further education is of the essence.

 

 

 

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Day 82: Twerking in the subway (Miley not included)

I grew up in New York City, and though I’ve spent most of my adulthood elsewhere, I have been living here again for more than a year. So, one might expect that at some point I’d have seen a nearly naked man twerking in the subway. This was not the case.

Until today.

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I know neither the name nor preferred gender identity of this performer, so in my head, I’m using the masculine pronoun, but calling him “Miss Union Square,” because that’s what came to mind. I think you’ll agree it’s an apt moniker.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKRLfN0r6tk&feature=youtu.be

Bonus: Check out the bewildered looking child. And the shoes. Miss Union Square’s, not the flummoxed kid’s.

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Day 81: The Market NYC

I’m a sucker for craft fairs, antique stores, flea markets, all that sort of thing. So stumbling across The Market NYC while strolling Bleecker Street was a pleasant surprise (next the The Bitter End). For those who live here who haven’t been, or those who plan to visit New York, it’s three levels of jewelry, clothing, accessories, bath products and more, all either handmade, vintage or antique. 

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There were only two downsides. First, the persnickety vendor who got snappish at me about taking pictures. I won’t mention the name of his company, because I’m a nice person, but the words “excuse me, Miss Thing” came to mind. I should set him up with the man I refer to as “Bitchy Barista.” Okay, I might be challenging the whole “I’m a nice person” thing here. Back to the matter at hand. The other downside of The Market NYC — or whatever the hip kids call it — not enough money to buy lots of fun things. 

My top choices? A lamp from The Steampunk Illuminist (and typewriter key cufflinks for my man), soaps from Filthy Farmgirl to give as gifts, and a hat from Katherine Carey Millinery (I love hats, people should give me hats). 

Bonus new experience: Corn gelato with cinnamon from Cones

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Day 80: Le Petit Prince

It’s been years since I read Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s “The Little Prince.” At this point, all I can remember are the quotations that found their way to so many high school yearbooks:

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”

But although my memory of the book is scarce, I have a feeling of affection for it, so tonight I made my first visit to the Morgan Library to see the exhibition of Saint-Exupery’s drawings and early manuscript pages. The tale by the French author was written during a visit to New York in 1942.

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In addition to being an author and illustrator, Saint-Exupery was also an aviator. He flew with the French Air Force, surviving a crash in the Sahara. This experience inspired the role of the narrator in his famed novella. Art imitates life.

But here is the strange part. The book ends with the Little Prince disappearing into the ether. In 1943, Saint-Exupery returned to active military duty, and on July 31, 1944, he departed from an airbase in Corsica and was never heard from again.

The last line of the book:

Send me word that he has come back.

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